Boys and Girls Club of Ada County puts youth on the path to success

It is one of the charities that benefits from Idaho Gives Day.

BOISE - Thursday, May 4, is Idaho’s largest single day of giving.

Idaho Gives is an opportunity for you to help hundreds of non-profit organizations all over the state achieve their goals.

One of the non-profits in our region is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

The Boys and Girls Club of Ada County began serving Boise Valley children back in 1997 and continues to put young lives on the path to success.

DONATE: Boys and Girls Club of Ada County

DONATE: Boys and Girls Club of Magic Valley

DONATE: Boys and Girls Club of Nampa

Every weekday at 3:30 p.m. the Boys and Girls Club in Garden City comes alive as hundreds of kids from all over the Garden City and Boise area flock to this safe haven compound for kids.  Many will stay there until it closes at 8 p.m.

4,000 children pass through the doors of the four Boys and Girls clubs of Ada County every year.  For many, the only other option after school is an empty home or the street.

"I probably would be going to somewhere else like to my friend’s house because I have nowhere to go after school," said Chris, a 13-year-old club member.

"So I'm glad there is a Boys and Girls Club."

RELATED: Idaho Gives 2017 looks to break fundraising record

The sounds of children playing in the gymnasium, and out in the playground lasts until afternoon snack time, which will give them the fuel they need for the activities to follow.

Activities that include after-school learning programs and craft projects for the younger kids.

Teens retreat to their own space in the club where they play music, or computer brain games or video games on a big-screen TV.

"Me and Chris have killed the Under dragon in Minecraft at least twice!" shouted 12-year-old club member, Christian.

And others find a private place to talk about the issues they are dealing with at home or school with a trained staff member who must be a counselor, parental figure, and positive role model all at the same time.

"It’s tough, it’s really, really tough, but I enjoy it because it makes me grow and it makes me a better person trying to fit this role model position to be there for these kids," said Connor Hiekkila, Boys and Girls Club staffer.

The club is about character building and kindness ... bullying doesn’t exist.

"I've been going here for about pretty much the whole school year and as far as I'm aware there hasn't been one incident," said Chris.

"Really, of any kind...no bullying, no fights...everybody just gets along, don’t they?"  asked KTVB's Mark Johnson. "Pretty much!" He replied.

Steve is a 14-year-old club member who has been coming here for five years and is now a junior staffer and, as this year's youth of the year at his club, he's looked up to by the younger members. Something he's embraced.

"They need a good role model to know how to grow up to be who they should be and if they have an example like me then they know how to do it," said Steve.

A future community leader following a path laid out by the men and women who embody the Boys and Girls Club.

"I kind of had this epiphany that if you work with kids at a young age and can provide this space for them to grow and learn and really come into themselves, that they'll grow up to be awesome adults and community members," said Connor.

Back in the Teen Room the boys are continuing their Minecraft game on the big screen when Christian says to his friend, "Here, let’s just create a new world."

He is talking about the game.

This, while a new world at the Boys and Girls Club is unfolding all around them ... designed to give kids a fighting chance at a bright future.

Like their motto says: Great futures start right here.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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